Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

“I’m going to entrust you with the most important mission ever given to a Cornish knight: to protect the life of the princess until she’s safe.”

When a brave young farmboy (Kerwin Mathews) saves Princess Elaine (Judi Meredith) from the clutches of a giant, he is made a knight and charged with the task of protecting her. Soon he finds himself battling other monsters conjured by the evil wizard Pendragon (Torin Thatcher).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anna Lee Films
  • Fantasy
  • Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Mythology
  • Kidnapping
  • Witches, Wizards, and Magicians

It’s easy to see why Peary lists this much-maligned fantasy flick in the back of his book as a Sleeper — it’s been so roundly dissed as simply an inferior imitation of Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion adventures that it never stood a chance on its own. While it’s true that the animation can’t hold a candle to Harryhausen’s creations, it’s exciting to see Jack battling various monsters, the story moves along at a fast pace, and the romantic leads are appealing. Jack the Giant Killer may not be must-see viewing, but it’s not awful, either.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Kerwin Mathews as the plucky hero
  • Judi Meredith as the bewitched princess
  • Lots of fast-paced action, colorful costumes, and creative make-up

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for fans of fantasy flicks.


One thought on “Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

  1. Not a must, and in complete agreement here.

    It’s certainly watchable; budding ffs esp. will no doubt willingly overlook its minor flaws – which seem to be the result of a limited, even if rather thoughtfully used budget. (The costume designer could have used a bit more flair, though; the color schemes don’t seem to follow much of a rule, which accents the on-the-cheap production.)

    The little ‘dancing man’ who later becomes a formidable monster may actually be a bit unnerving for those too young – esp. when the ‘wonderfully’ menacing Thatcher causes him to grow, tall and shadowy, in Meredith’s bedroom.

    Fave scene: the extended one at sea, in which evil spirits hover over, then descend upon an attempt at escape.

    Fans of dependable Anna Lee (here as the unwittingly evil Lady Constance) will note she appeared the same year as ‘nosy’ Mrs. Bates in ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’

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